Wednesday, February 11, 2015

  • Wednesday, February 11, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
A number of people have been arrested by the Palestinian Authority in recent months for insulting Mahmoud Abbas.

Majdoline Reza Hassouna, an investigative journalist, wrote something about Abbas on her Facebook page last December that caused her to be prosecuted under the law against insulting the leader. (She claimed her Facebook page was hacked.)

Another citizen, Omar Baarat, was imprisoned and then released on bail for $4200 (3000 Jordanian dinars) for the same crime of "insulting the leaders" (literally "prolonging the tongue.") He is awaiting trial.

The court document in that case is shown here.

Jordan has a similar law, Article 195 of the Jordanian penal code, which may be the basis for the PA's law. It prohibits insulting the king or queen or other officials, including with cartoons or graphics.

Because this shows Abbas to be more of a petty dictator than a Western-style enlightened peacemaker, these stories rarely make it to the mainstream media.

Here's an exception that proves the rule: when a similar case came to light in 2013 and the "insulter" was jailed, Abbas then pardoned the offender, pretending to care about freedom of speech. The New York Times happily printed that part of the story showing how Abbas was so kind to his enemy.
The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has pardoned a Palestinian journalist whose one-year prison sentence for insulting him on Facebook was upheld by a West Bank appeals court on Thursday, the president’s legal adviser said in a statement....The president’s legal adviser said that Mr. Abbas respected freedom of opinion and expression and that he had not personally filed a complaint against the journalist.
But there has been no followup from the NYT as to why people are still being prosecuted under that law, today, under that wonderfully progressive permanent president.

Here are the reported violations of freedom of expression by the PA in December alone that the mainstream media won't touch:
The Preventive Security arrested Baha’ Al-Jayyousi from Tulkarem on 2/12 for vilifying important personalities on Facebook. The Preventive Security also arrested Al-Quds University media student Islam Za’al on 3/12 for allegedly publishing inciting news against the Palestinian authority on Facebook.

A unit of the Preventive Security forces stormed the house of Al-Quds University media student Amer Abu Hlayel and searched it on 5/12, before they left an arrest order to his family for his writings on Facebook. The Preventive Security forces also committed violations against a number of journalists: they summoned the freelance journalist Ameer Abu Aram and interrogated him on 9/12; they also raided the house of Wattan TV cameraman Mohammad Awad to arrest him (but his family did not allow them in) on 10/12; they filed a complaint to the General Prosecution in Nablus against Al-Quds TV producer and Al-Safir newspaper correspondent Majdolin Hassoune and interrogated her for her writings on Facebook, accusing her of vilifying VIPs on 14/12.

The Preventive Security also arrested Wattan correspondent Aysar Barghouthi in his house in Kafr Ain, north Ramallah, on 28/12. Four men assaulted the freelance journalist Muath Amleh and beat him after he received two threats for his writings against the Qabalan municipality on 29/12. The Preventive Security Forces summoned Ahrar Al-Asra center journalist and human rights activist Mahmoud Milhim on 3/12 but he did not go to their headquarters. On 12/12 the Palestinian Security forces prevented Al-Aqsa TV correspondent Ala’ Al-Titi and his colleague the cameraman Mahmoud Abu Yousif from covering a festival organized by Hamas in Hebron. They detained Al-Titi after bringing him to the Intelligence service headquarters. On the same day the Preventive Security forces seized the ID of Al-Jazeera net correspondent Awad Rjoub while he was heading to cover the same Hamas festival and they tried to prevent him from covering. On 14/12 Quds Press agency correspondent Zaid Abu Arra received a summons from the director of the Preventive Security by phone telling him that they were going to arrest him, and on 21/12 the Preventive Security forces summoned Al-Quds University media student Qutaiba Hamdan, detained him, interrogated him and beat him.


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